Emphasis on Personal...Chef

Although I’ve always loved cooking, my schooling was in anthropology and women’s studies. Though I fantasized about culinary school, I didn’t allow myself to seriously consider cooking as a career. Instead I studied people, sociology, and culture.

After graduation, and sick of academia, I got a job in a kitchen where I found that working with my hands was extremely satisfying. And the beauty was, I didn’t have to give up my interest in people.

As I’ve moved from conference center and restaurant cooking to catering and now personal chef work, I’ve been pleased to learn that cooking is a fascinating way to interact with people.

Working for Lola, the Filipina professional chef and owner of a vegetarian restaurant where I sauteed for eight years, I discovered that Filipinos tend to point with their lips (by pooching them in the desired direction). I also learned how to make adobo, a mouth-watering dish of slow simmered pork or chicken with white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper.

Much is revealed when meeting with clients to discuss their wedding meals. While many couples share the pants in the family, often the bride has ultimate say in the food decisions. I was fascinated to see some women rudely dismiss their fiance ©es’ suggestions and wondered how their marriages would fair.

Once I gave a family notice after a year of being their personal chef, because of plans to travel abroad for six months. The mother was so sad and angry that she cried because she’d never been able to provide healthy food on a regular basis for her four children until I came along.

Then there was the fellow on a very strict diet: vegetables only, no garlic or salt, and only lemon and cayenne pepper for seasoning. I would throw eight different veggies in water and boil it and for this he paid me extravagantly. He was perfectly capable of cooking for himself; he just wanted the company. He’d lean on the door jam and chat aboutwhatever the whole time I was there.

Many of my clients are good cooks–they just lack the time to make their own food. Johanna runs a thriving online business, home schools her children, and is doing all the general contracting for the new addition on their 100 percent environmentally friendly home. Her house is always abuzz with phone calls, workmen, tutors, house cleaners, and children as I prepare enormous batches (for freezing) of organic, dairy- and gluten-free fish curries, chicken gumbos, and lamb stews.

Clients like Johanna balk when I offer to a salad or rice. “I think I can handle that much!” Whereas other less multi-tasking clients get flustered when I don’t give detailed enough instructions for how to heat up soup.

Whether it’s therapy, sociological research, or cross-cultural communication, cooking continues to satisfy my interest in food and people.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            3 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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